At our recent North Shore District Meeting, club delegate Sandy White proudly showed off the Bronze Medal she had won at the State Championships for Blind Bowlers held in Charlestown. It was Sandy’s first time participating in Blind Bowls and she played in the B4 category for players with Tunnel Vision (no peripheral vision). Sandy was naturally excited about placing 3rd behind two State/National players over two days of competition in Singles and Pairs – a great effort. Sandy has since been selected to play for NSW at the national championships in June 2016.
She then entertained everyone at the meeting with the following story, which we thought others might enjoy:
“Due to my having an inherited eye condition (RP) causing sight loss and blindness I have always been interested in, and a supporter of, Guide Dogs NSW and have visited their training facility at Glossodia. Over the years I have often thought about how wonderful these Labradors are with what they learn and how they are the eyes of their owners, giving them so much mobility.
BUT I have always had one burning question—-
” How does a blind person pick up the dog’s ‘business’?”
One couldn’t get down on hands and knees and smell or feel for the “deposit” – Yuk!
At last this question was answered, when I played in the State Championships for blind bowlers at Charlestown.
The night we arrived I met this charming fellow, Fred, with his guide dog Pedro …. a lovely couple indeed. Accompanied by two other ladies, I went to Fred’s motel room to be fitted for a club shirt, as it was the first time I had participated in blind bowls. I stripped off the shirt I was wearing to try the new one, when suddenly one lady exclaimed “Fred’s here!!” I said, “it doesn’t matter – he’s blind”. Needless to say we all burst our sides with laughter as we kept up a running commentary for Fred, who joined in the fun.
It was then that I asked THE question about how one deals with “blind dogs’ business”?? The reply from Fred was “My dog picks up after himself … I give him an empty plastic bag and he brings it back full”.
Needless to say after all the “carry on” with the shirt fitting I knew that he had a sense of humour, so I just thought, “he’s having me on!” and left it at that. We all said goodnight and went to our rooms.
But the next morning before breakfast there was a sight to behold… Pedro going for a walk with a plastic bag (empty) attached to his rear end. Then, lo and behold back he comes with the bag full! Fred wasn’t having me on at all … they are trained to do this, another wonderful feat of these dogs and what they learn from their dedicated trainers.
Fred then demonstrated how the bag is attached to the dog … for filling. One handle around the tail, a little strap around the belly with a bag attached to two hooks on the belly strap! At long last I had the answer to my question about Guide Dogs’ Business (but, without going into the details, the procedure Pedro demonstrated was for ‘male dogs only’)!!
What a great experience those few days at Charlestown with Blind Bowlers was – and such fun! And all the way back to Sydney, beautiful Pedro sat on the floor of Pat’s car with his chin on Fred’s knee.
(Should anyone be interested Blind Bowlers NSW they can contact
the co- coordinator of the Avalon Group, Maureen Eves 99681138 or 041209771 –
firstname.lastname@example.org. They meet Tuesday mornings.)